a visit from Beverly Williamsburg

To awake early on an Autumn morning…a rainforest outside my window…red-beaked bird with plump form and thick red feathers by its bum like a half-opened fan. Notice the crackle of rain drops against crunchy leaves, soggy from a night of rain. Notice the sky with a hint of jaundice, yellowed and bright. An interruption of traffic that cannot be seen because my windows represent backyards, no streets in sight. The haunt of their exhaust fumes, horns and (perhaps) angry drivers exist somewhere off stage.

To climb out of bed as though it is a tree far from flat land. Thin blanket (in need of its Autumn/Winter replacement) pushed away from nude body, already shivering from early-morning air pressing against it. Toes tangle over wooden floor, still sleepy, still remembering their function after many hours asleep. Limbs search for clothes, even though no one is awake at this time and nudity can be kept a secret still.

Coffee. All thoughts have an aroma of berries or seeds or beans, produced by several species of the small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The boil of water. The measurement of ground up caffeine dropped into french press. The contemplative practice of waiting. For boil. For saturation.

I turn, from bedroom into kitchen. Just a few steps away. And. Gasp.

Beverly Williamsburg.

She had been visiting for over a month now; however, she must have been feeling anti-social. She never waited for me to notice her. She lurked at night while others were sleeping. Beverly is not meticulous about putting things away. By this, I mean her excrement. Many mornings, I would awake to Beverly’s droppings behind the blender or near the stained glass holder of large spoons and spatulas. No postcard or note left on a torn piece of paper. Beverly was never known for her pleasantries or manners.


My dad has always said to me:

Aimee, bugs and animals should be left alone when roaming outdoors, but once they enter my house, uninvited, then that is a time we can dispose of them.

I should interrupt this and mention that my dad is not a vegetarian, nor am I. However, we do not hunt (except for good deals on free-range meat).

Upon walking into darkened kitchen, I notice Beverly without suitcase or housewarming present. She is stuck on a rectangular piece of paper about the size of a postcard. She is struggling for freedom on a trap covered in invisible glue, placed by a human named Exterminator. It is 6:42 am and Beverly finally makes an entrance, which will unfortunately be her last.

how approachable are pigeons

dear oscar,

I thought of you this early morning as feet pushed me forward from fort greene toward crown heights. I walked toward the farmer’s market and noticed a man walking slowly, holding a glue trap with a tiny mouse stuck toward the end of it. This man was carrying a ledge, and I wondered where he was headed. I watched, as he tilted the mouse toward Brooklyn gravel.

This must be a metaphor for my Saturday, as I find myself tiptoeing over cracks on streets. I purchase a bag of apples for $2. I sing a song out loud, though quiet enough for only pigeons and I to overhear. One of them hops toward me and sneaks a bone between its beak. I think about taking this bird home with me. How might my life change if I slid my body over its feathered back, as we flew toward my apartment.

Last night, a woman said:
sometimes I think about drop-kicking a pigeon.

Pigeons are my favorite birds, I announced. They are curious and disheveled and independent adventurers. I think about approaching pigeons as they feed on baker’s crumbs and pizza crust left to curbsides. They are food-oriented like me. But. Are they lonely too?

you fell in love so freely and doused yourself in the aroma of longing. I do this too. I long to follow that mouse and watch it wake against the alarm of freedom. I long for a woman who lives far from eastern standard time. I long for xray analysis to serve me up an explanation for the hurricane in this body. I long for kisses to paper towel away the stains. I long for letters. Mail. Postage stamps.

I would have followed you into that field. I would have handed over all my blood. All my skin to cover your bruises like heavy quilts. I would have asked you out. Watched a movie with you. We could have shared a grilled cheese sandwich and ginger ale. You could have read all your stories to me. I’d have waited. I’d have remained.